[Homestead] USDA's Mandatory Property and Animal Surveillance Program

Rob becida at comcast.net
Sun Oct 16 10:59:04 EDT 2005

This came in on another list, I took a look at 
the link and it does appear to be real.
I will admit that in my mind when I see "USDA" 
doing something I think of agribiz getting it's 
ideas turned into law. What's good for the 
agribiz is not necessarily good for me.
Those of you who keep chickens or goats or cows 
or any type of livestock might want to take a look at this.

becida at comcast.net

Why You Should Oppose the USDA's Mandatory Property and Animal
Surveillance Program
by Mary Zanoni, Ph.D. (Cornell), J.D. (Yale), Executive Director of
Farm for LifeTM
P.O. Box 501, Canton, New York 13617
Telephone:  315-265-2800 Email:  mlz at slic.com

Poultry fanciers and keepers of small flocks are facing a grave
threat from a proposed government intrusion into their innocent
choice of pastimes and way of life.
For several years, the USDA has been working with the largest-scale
animal industry organizations (for example, the National Pork
Producers, Monsanto Company, and Cargill Meat) to develop a
mandatory "National Animal Identification System" ("NAIS").
However, most small scale livestock producers, people who raise
animals for their own food, and people who keep horses or livestock
as companion animals do not know about the USDA's plans.
The NAIS will drive small producers out of the market, will make
people abandon raising animals for their own food, will invade
Americans' personal privacy to a degree never before tolerated, will
violate the religious freedom of Americans whose beliefs make it
impossible for them to comply, and will erase the last vestiges of
animal welfare from the production of animal foods.
The Problem
On April 25, 2005, the USDA released "Draft Program Standards"
("St.") and a "Draft Strategic Plan" ("Plan") concerning the NAIS.
If you think the description below sounds too bizarre to be true,
please go to www.usda.gov/nais , read the Standards and Plan, and check
the citations.
By January 1, 2008, the NAIS will be mandatory.  (Plan, pp. 2, 10,
Every person who owns even one horse, cow, pig, chicken, sheep,
pigeon, or virtually any livestock animal, will be forced to register
their home, including owner's name, address, and telephone number,
and keyed to Global Positioning System coordinates for satellite
monitoring, in a giant federal database under a 7-digit "premises ID
number."  (St., pp. 3-4, 10-12; Plan, p. 5.)
Every animal will have to be assigned a 15-digit ID number, also to
be kept in a giant federal database.  The form of ID will most likely
be a tag or microchip containing a Radio Frequency Identification
Device, designed to be read from a distance.  (Plan, p. 10; St., pp.
6, 12, 20, 27-28.)  The plan may also include collecting the DNA of
every animal and/or a retinal scan of every animal.  (Plan, p.13.)
The owner will be required to report:  the birthdate of an animal,
the application of every animal's ID tag, every time an animal leaves
or enters the property, every time an animal loses a tag, every time
a tag is replaced, the slaughter or death of an animal, or if any
animal is missing.  Such events must be reported within 24 hours.
(St., pp. 12-13, 17-21.)
Third parties, such as veterinarians, will be required to
report "sightings" of animals.  (St., p. 25.)  In other words, if you
call a vet to your property to treat your horse, cow, or any other
animal, and the vet finds any animal without the mandatory 15-digit
computer-readable ID, the vet may be required to report you.
If you do not comply, the USDA will exercise "enforcement" against
you.  (St., p. 7; Plan, p. 17.)  The USDA has not yet specified the
nature of "enforcement," but presumably it will include imposing
fines and/or seizing your animals.
There are no exceptions -- under the USDA plan, you will be forced to
register and report even if you raise animals only for your own food
or keep horses for draft or for transportation.
The Negative Effects
Eradication of Small Farms – People with just a few meat animals or
40-cow dairies are already living on the edge financially.  The USDA
plan will force many of them to give up farming.
Loss of the True Security of Organic and Local Foods – The NAIS is
touted by the USDA and agricorporations as a way to make our food
supply "secure" against diseases or terrorism.  However, most people
instinctively understand that real food security comes from raising
food yourself or buying from a local farmer you actually know.  The
USDA plan will only kill off more local sources of production and
further promote the giant industrial methods which cause many food
safety and disease problems.
Extreme Damage to Personal Privacy – Legally, livestock animals are a
form of personal property.  It is unprecedented for the United States
government to conduct large-scale computer-aided surveillance of its
citizens simply because they own a common type of property.  (The
only exceptions are registration of motor vehicles and guns, due to
their clear inherent dangers – but they are registered at the state
level, not by the federal government.)  The NAIS would actually
subject the owner of a chicken to far more surveillance than the
owner of a gun.  Surveillance of small-scale livestock owners is like
the government subjecting people to surveillance for owning a couch,
a TV, a lawnmower.  What about non-livestock animals?  Will the
government next want to register all cats, dogs, and parakeets, and
demand the global positioning coordinates of their owners' houses and
Insult to Animal Welfare – The NAIS is the ultimate objectification
of higher, sensitive living creatures, treating individual animals as
if they were cans of peas with a bar code.  Many people who raise
their own animals or buy from small, local producers do so because
they are very troubled by industrial-scale production of chickens,
cattle, and pigs.  These people will be forced either to sacrifice
their personal privacy to government surveillance, or to stop raising
their own food by humane standards.
Burden on Religious Freedom – Many adherents of plain (and other)
faiths raise their own food animals and use animals in farming and
transportation because their beliefs require them to live this way.
Such people obviously cannot comply with the USDA's computerized,
technology-dependent system.  The NAIS will force these people to
violate their religious beliefs.
What You Can Do
Small-scale keepers of poultry and other livestock can take action to
create an effective movement in opposition to the USDA/agricorporate
plan.  First, small-scale livestock owners should not participate in
any so-called "voluntary" state or federal program to register farms
or animals.  The USDA is using farmers' supposed willingness to enter
a "voluntary" program as a justification for making the program
mandatory.  (See Plan, "Executive Summary" and pp. 7-8.)
Small farmers and livestock owners can also help inform and organize
others.  The USDA presently does not plan to finalize its rules for
mandatory ID until the summer of 2006.  There is still time to oppose
this plan.
Several farmers and other concerned citizens have joined together to
form FARM for LIFETM, a public-interest organization to support the
rights of small and subsistence farmers and consumers of organic,
natural, and local foods.  FARM for LIFE's first project is to stop
the USDA plan for mandatory animal ID.
The organization will publish a newsletter three times a year (first
publication scheduled for November 1, 2005), to inform citizens of
developments concerning animal ID and other issues vital to the small
farming and natural/organic food communities.  Newsletter subscribers
will also be sent information at appropriate times on how to contact
lawmakers and the USDA to oppose animal ID.  In addition, FARM for
LIFETM will coordinate with other existing interest groups to mount
an effective campaign against animal ID.
Please help STOP animal ID and support FARM for LIFETby subscribing
to the newsletter: $25 Individual Subscription (1 year), $40
Institutional Subscription (1 year), Please help with an additional
donation in any amount. Make your check payable to "Farm for Life"
and mail to: Farm for Life, PO Box 501, Canton, New York 13617.

Help Preserve Your Rights:
Go here for more.

More information about the Homestead mailing list